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Sea Eagle release programme - welfare issues being raised

A number of sea eagles born in Norway, then hand reared and released in east Scotland by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) have been found close to death after bouts of bad weather and now animal welfare experts are expressing concerns.

The birds, famed for wingspans of 8ft, were grounded when their wings became waterlogged with rain.

With another year to run in this release programme in the east of Scotland, concerns are now being expressed that these eagles are struggling to adapt to their environment.

According to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), nine sea eagles have been rescued since last year, including five that were exhausted and weak after heavy rain.

Scottish Land & Estates CEO, Douglas McAdam, commented saying:” we welcome comments from SSPCA and we share their concern from a welfare perspective but we would also restate our concern about the impact that these released predators are having on game birds and we would highlight again the potential risk there is to the poultry industry within this area. Following discussions at the National Species Reintroduction Forum, a government forum on which I sit, it was agreed that the project team which are running this sea eagle release project should be approached and asked that I should be allowed to join to represent the views of the land management sector. Unfortunately this request was turned down and an opportunity to bring some transparency and to give a voice for local business concerns was missed.” Read more...






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